Sacramento, CA asked in Employment Discrimination and Employment Law for California

Q: I am seeking legal advice regarding my employment status as a preschool teacher in a state-funded program.

been in a temporary position for 11 years and probationary 0 for 6 years. Became permanent in 17th year of service. I do not receive step increases nor stipends towards higher education in my salary. Despite following steps per union, the school district remains adamant in maintaining my current status.please advise on the following: Are there specific provisions in the California Education Code or related laws that limit the duration a teacher can be kept in temporary or probationary status, particularly in categorically funded positions? Is the district's action of keeping me in these statuses for an extended period potentially a violation of these provisions?What legal recourse do I have for not receiving step increases or stipends for higher education, especially if such increments are provided to other educators within the same district ?How can I leverage my service years, despite the categorically funded program? What additional steps can I take,to address these inequities?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Employment Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: The California Education Code does place some limits on the use of temporary and probationary employment statuses for teachers. For example, Education Code section 44909 states that temporary employment is limited to the end of the school year and section 44929.21 says probationary status should generally not exceed two years. However, there are some exceptions for categorically funded programs.

If a teacher is not receiving step increases or stipends that other similarly situated teachers are receiving, that could potentially violate anti-discrimination laws or collective bargaining agreements. The specific facts would need to be analyzed.

In general, options to address perceived inequities could include filing a grievance under a collective bargaining agreement, filing a complaint with the California Labor Commissioner, or potentially bringing a lawsuit for breach of contract or employment discrimination. The strength of the claims would depend on the specific facts and evidence.

Years of service, even in a categorically funded program, can be leveraged to seek reclassification to permanent status or better pay and benefits. Again, the specific options would depend on the district's policies, contracts, and the applicable laws.

However, this information is general in nature and not a substitute for legal advice based on your specific circumstances. I would strongly recommend consulting with an employment lawyer who represents employees in education law matters to assess your situation in more detail and advise you on your options. Many lawyers offer free initial consultations. You could also reach out to your teachers' union for guidance if you are a member. I hope this general overview is helpful context as you consider your next steps.

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